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What is an Oven Burner?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
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An oven burner is the part of the stove-top that is used to cook food in pans and pots. They are typically circular in design and contain a metal coil. Most stoves are equipped with four burners, two small units and two large units, though some may feature five. These may be powered electrically to generate heat, or fed by gas to create a real flame.

Stove-tops may be attached to the oven unit, which is then called a range. In kitchens with ovens mounted into walls, there may be an additional stove unit, which features the oven burners, set into a counter. This may also be known as a cook-top.

An oven burner operates by sending either electricity or natural gas to the circular burner unit to create heat. It is operated by a corresponding dial that both turns the burner on and off, and can adjust its heat level. Dials are typically labeled by a small pictorial diagram that indicates which burner it controls.

Electric burners will begin to conduct heat automatically when the controlling dial is turned to a certain temperature. Gas burners will release fuel below the level of the burner's metal coil and ignite that gas with an automatic starter. The starter may be in the form of a pilot light, which remains constantly lit, or a spark nodule. This type of oven burner often makes a popping sound before the flame ignites. This is the sound of the automatic lighter attempting to catch.

Modern ovens may feature a flat, glass-surfaced cook-top. This type of oven burner is electric and is set below the glass. Heat may be controlled by a corresponding dial, or by a digital program panel.

To clean a traditional oven burner, lift the metallic coil and slide it out of the stove-top. These may be washed with soap and water, or scoured with some types of steel wool, if necessary. Wipe beneath the surface of the stove-top with a damp sponge. Glass-top stoves may be cleaned with all-purpose cleaners or dish soap, and scrubbed with the rough side of a sponge.

Electrical burners may be replaced or repaired, depending on the extent of the malfunction. Individual burner units often vary in price between $20 US Dollars (USD) and $60 USD. Glass-top electrical units typically must be replaced as one whole item, instead of by individual elements. Gas burners should generally only be serviced by trained professionals.

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Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On Oct 02, 2014

@heavanet- I think it really depends on your lifestyle and budget. Both types of oven burners work very well and cook about the same, but there are good and bad sides to owning both kinds.

Glass covered coils are easy to clean and more attractive than the open coil oven burners. The two downsides to owning this type of stove is that these models are more costly than basic ovens and the coils are much more difficult to replace if one stops working.

On the other hand, oven burners with open coils pop right out of their sockets if you need to remove a faulty one. A new one is just as easy to put in its place. This type of stove is also a lot less costly than modern, glass top models.

Ovens with open coil burners also have some negative features. They are much more difficult to clean, because food can get trapped in the crevices around the coils. They also are not as attractive as glass top models.

By Raynbow — On Oct 01, 2014

When it comes to an electric stove, does anyone have some thoughts on the pros and cons of burners that are covered in glass compared to burners that are open coils? I'm looking for a new stove, and I have never had one that is modern. I'm wondering which to buy.

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